La Negra Negustias is a little known novel by the Mexican author Francisco Rojas González about la coronela Angustias Farrera, a Afro Mexican mulatto women who served as a colonel under Emiliano Zapata during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1916). Published in 1944, I came across the novel in a book store of the Fondo de Cultura Economica while studying in Guadalajara, Mexico in the early 1990s; González is a native of Guadalajara. I also came a across a film version of the novel while in graduate school at Syracuse University. The novel is notable because it delves into the African presence in Mexico outside of traditional Afro Mexican communities in places like La Costa Chica in the state of Guerrero, the resistance of the young and attractive Angustias to the traditional roles of women in rural Mexican society, and the conditions in rural societies that led peasant farmers and agricultural workers to take up arms against Mexico’s landed oligarchy and the dictator Porfirio Diaz. The novel also discusses the sexism and racism that Angustias had to overcome as she rose up through the ranks of the revolutionary army and how she gained the respect of the soldiers under her authority. Thus the book is provides an interesting alternative to paternalistic view of women in Mexican literature as subservient dutiful wives, domestic servants, mothers who raise children and cook great food. What also remains a mystery to me is how this winner of the Mexican National Price in Literature remains virtually unknown to many academics who study the African presence in Mexico and the Mexican Revolution. Here are some Mexican recipes and related links to this post.
Mexican Foodways and Recipes: http://frederickdouglassopie.blogspot.com/search?q=mexico
Related link on Francisco Rojas González: http://www.tower.com/la-negra-angustias-francisco-rojas-gonzalez-paperback/wapi/112428697
Laura Kanost, "Viewing the Afro-Mexican Female Revolutionary: Fransico Rojas Gonzalelz's La Negra Angustias": http://www.jstor.org/stable/25758234